Registration Open

Join us January 9-11, 2019 for the Urban Counties Annual Education & Policy Conference at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol. Commissioners court members and county professional staff – including executive, budget, elections, and legislative staff – will all benefit from attending Capitol 2019.

Earn Credits

County Commissioners can earn up to 12 continuing education credit hours for attending conference sessions.


We have an exciting lineup of speakers to offer keen insights to our members about the upcoming 86th Legislative Session.


Take advantage of excellent networking opportunities with other county leaders and legislators in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.

Registered attendees may bring a guest or spouse to Austin for only $175. Guests may attend Wednesday evening’s opening keynote dinner, and the sponsors reception Thursday evening at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol. Registration is exclusive to Texas Conference of Urban Counties members’ commissioners courts and county staff. Companies interested in participating may inquire below about sponsorship opportunities. We look forward to seeing you in January!

Reserve a Room Online

The Sheraton Austin is accepting hotel reservations for conference attendees at our special Urban Counties rate. You can book, modify or cancel your hotel reservations at any time under the Urban Counties rate until Friday, December 14. By securing a room with our conference rate, attendees will receive a discounted room rate, complimentary WiFi, and other amenities. A limited number of rooms have been reserved for our group. Attendees are encouraged to book early to ensure availability.


We are seeking corporate underwriters to support us in offering the highest level of continuing education available for urban county officials. It is our hope to finalize sponsorship arrangements as soon as possible, as availability is limited to only 10 companies. We appreciate your interest in partnering with the Urban Counties and look forward to working with you in the future.

Tentative Conference Agenda

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

1:00 – 5:00 PM
Visit with Legislators at the Capitol

5:00 – 6:00 PM
Welcome Reception

6:00 – 6:30 PM
Legislative Update with Comptroller Glenn Hegar

6:30 – 8:30 PM
Dinner and Opening Keynote Session: Mark Updegrove, Presidential Historian: Lessons in Character and Leadership from Seven American Presidents

Thursday, January 10, 2019

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Legislative Update: Rep. Garnet Coleman

9:15 – 10:15 AM
Opening General Sessions: Protecting Self-Determination with Kim Haddow

10:30 – 12:00 PM
Legislative / Educational Sessions

12:30 – 2:30 PM
Membership Luncheon

2:45 – 3:30 PM
Legislative / Educational Sessions

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Texas Budget Outlook FY20-21 with Eva DeLuna Castro, CPPP

5:00 – 6:00 PM
Sponsor Happy Hour

Friday, January 11, 2019

7:30 – 8:30 AM

8:30 – 11:30 AM
Legislative / Educational Sessions

11:30 – 12:30 PM
Round Table Discussions

12:30 PM
End Conference

Note: This draft agenda is for planning purposes only; times and content are subject to change


Keynote Speaker Mark Updegrove

Keynote Speaker Mark Updegrove

Presidential Historian for ABC News, Author and Former CEO of Medal of Honor Museum

Mark K. Updegrove is an author, historian, journalist and television commentator. He is inaugural CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum, to be built on Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. From 2009 to 2017, he served as the director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, and remains a trustee of the LBJ Foundation board.

Eva DeLuna Castro

Eva DeLuna Castro

State Budget Analyst for the Public Policy Priorities and Director for Invest in Texas

Eva DeLuna Castro oversees the Center’s analysis of fiscal and budget issues, advocating for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. She joined CPPP in 1998; prior to that, she was a writer and analyst for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and a state House legislative aide. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Literature from Harvard University and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jay Leeson

Jay Leeson

Founder and Managing Editor for Other Side of Texas

Mr. Leeson is best known for his independent voice, original thought and distinctive style, which has led to his emergence as a well recognized Texas political commentator. His firebrand prairie populism and place-over-party perspective is often cursed by folks who may or may not might be crazier than him on the far reaches of Left and Right. But he is generally respected by Republicans and Democrats alike. The podcast version Jay Leeson’s Other Side of Texas radio program regularly ranks highly in Apple’s News & Politics category. The program broadcasts weekdays from 5-6pm on KRFE AM 580 Lubbock and live streams from Leeson writes regularly on his site, and frequently for Texas Monthly, Dallas Morning News and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, amongst other publications.

Ross Ramsey

Ross Ramsey

Executive Editor and Co-Founder for the Texas Tribune

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, where he writes regular columns on politics, government and public policy. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers.

Dale Craymer

Dale Craymer

President of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association

Dale Craymer is the President of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA), a membership organization of many of the state’s top businesses. Mr Craymer previously served as the association’s chief economist. Prior to his work at TTARA, Mr. Craymer had a long and distinguished career in state government, serving as Chief Revenue Estimator under Comptroller Bob Bullock, fiscal analyst for the House Speaker and Ways and Means Committee Chair, and Governor’s Budget Director.

Talmadge Heflin

Talmadge Heflin

Director, Center for Fiscal Policy at Texas Public Policy Foundation

The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is the Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) Center for Fiscal Policy. Prior to joining the Foundation, Heflin served the people of Harris County as a state representative for 11 terms. Well regarded as a legislative leader on budget and tax issues by Democratic and Republican speakers alike, he for several terms was the only House member to serve on both the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees. In the 78th Session, Heflin served as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. He navigated a $10 billion state budget shortfall through targeted spending cuts that allowed Texans to avoid a tax increase. Prior to his legislative service, he was a member of the Board of Trustees at Alief Independent School District. He is past president of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a member of numerous local civic organizations, serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church Dripping Springs, and is a former member of the board of the West Houston Medical Center.